Physical therapists’ perspectives of patient values and their place in clinical practice: a qualitative study

Carla M. Bastemeijer*, Johannes P. van Ewijk, Jan A. Hazelzet, Lennard P. Voogt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)



In physical therapy practice patients and therapists exchange their perspectives on musculoskeletal health problems and their meaning for both of them. However, literature indicates that physical therapists find it difficult to enquire about the patients’ values during clinical encounters. 


The aim of this study was to gain deeper insight into the perspectives of physical therapists about patient values. 


Explorative qualitative focus group study. 


Twenty-three physical therapists were interviewed in the Netherlands from March to May 2021. Two researchers analyzed the interviews and derived relevant codes. After an iterative process of comparing, analyzing, conceptualizing and discussing the codes, themes were identified through a thematic framework, illustrated with meaningful quotes. 


Three major themes were identified: Humane, Tacit, and Responsive. It appeared that patient values play unconsciously a major role in daily practice and are associated with humanity, not technical or procedural aspects of the encounter. Responsive denotes that all values require interaction in which aligning with the individual patient forms the basis of treatment. Barriers for being responsive are identified as subthemes: Choices, Trust, Diverseness, and Boundaries. 


The concept of patient values appeared to be implicit. The professional intuitively attunes as a fellow human being to values and expectations of the individual patient. This study contributes to finding a balance and mutual reinforcement of implicit and explicit knowledge. With all found experiences and insights the concept of patient values became more explicit in physical therapy to create a framework for education and research in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100552
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical therapists’ perspectives of patient values and their place in clinical practice: a qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this